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Question from Wilma F.: My 6 year old desktop computer died and I’m in the process of shopping for a new one.
I really like the look of some of the All-in-One computers that I’ve seen.
And I also like the idea of not having to deal with a tower box or a bunch of extra cables.
I’d love to hear your honest opinion of All-in-One computers.
The upsides of buying one are obvious. Do you know of any downsides to be aware of when comparing them to laptops and desktop “tower” type computers?
Rick’s answer: I do have a very strong opinion of All-in-One computers, Wilma. And to be honest, I’m not a fan.
While it’s true that All-in-One machines look great and take up less space, those are about the only things they have going for them.
1 – Like most laptops, All-in-One computers aren’t very upgradable.
Yes, you can upgrade the RAM and mass storage device(s) in some models, but you’re typically out of luck if you want to switch to a more powerful CPU or graphics card or upgrade to a larger or better monitor.
In a nutshell, All-in-Ones basically come with the same disadvantages that typically go with owning a laptop without being able to enjoy the advantage of a laptop’s portability.
2 – All-in-Ones are typically more difficult to repair than regular desktop PCs.
Virtually everything inside a traditional desktop PC can easily be swapped out for a suitable replacement if something goes belly-up on you.
The same can’t be said of most All-in-Ones.
3 – Since everything but the keyboard and mouse has to be crammed inside what is basically a slightly over-sized flat-panel monitor case, there is very little room left for adequate air flow or bulky cooling fans.
That means the machine’s work-horse components are usually under-powered when compared to desktop PCs and laptops that fall within the same general price range.
Bottom line: In my humble opinion, laptops and desktop computers are really better machines (and better deals) overall than their All-in-One counterparts.
I hope this helps, Wilma. Good luck!
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